Urban velo had a link to a new project in Kenya, the African Cyclist, with the goal of inspiring Africans to have more access to the professional world of cycling.
from their website:
These two young men are Zakayo Nderi and Samwel Mwangi. They come from a tiny spot on the planet called Eldoret in Kenya. And it is a remarkable place because half of all the worldâ€™s marathon champions come from that one tiny spot.
They have the heart, lungs and legs of marathoners, but all they want to be are the first professional black African cyclists in the world. And in August this year, they will be going to Alpe dâ€™Huez in France to do a timed ascent.
Why, you may ask? In 2004, there was an individual time trial up that mountain in the Tour de France. Out of 155 riders, Lance Armstrong won it in 39â€™41â€ and the tenth placed time was 42â€™08â€. Zakayo and Mwangi intend to finish in a time somewhere between those two times. Just to show they belong among them.
Until now, there has not been a single black African in the Tour de France. Or in pro cycling. Not one. So meet Zakayo and Mwangi. All they want is an opportunity to prove themselves.
July 25th, 2008 | Category: General | Comments are closed
Its all about bike locks with a few good tips on some products to keep your ride secure.
Of course that doesn’t help if you let someone “tryout” your bike and they ride off with it.
Article by Scott Ward.
Also, David Byrne, unveils his creative bike racks:
from New York Magazine:
The Bike Rack As Art Within the next two weeks, artistâ€“rockerâ€“bike lover David Byrne will unveil nine temporary bicycle racks around the city. Here he examines â€œThe Jersey,â€ a welded steel silhouette of a car that will be installed near the Lincoln Tunnel on 39th Street and Ninth Avenue. Elsewhere: an abstract squiggle in front of MoMA, a wagging dog on La Guardia Place, and a reclining woman near 42nd Street dubbed â€œThe Olde Times Square.â€ Photograph Courtesy of Bill Scanga/Pace Wildenstein
and here is a video from the Wall Street Journal Online.
Check out the article and video here. A gritty cousin of the game of kings, bike polo is gaining traction
Sacramento Bee, July 20, 2008 By Gina Kim
Two lines of four people square off across the parking lot, each balancing on their fixed-gear bikes with only the heads of their polo mallets resting on the ground.
“Marco,” yells one side.”Polo,” responds the other. Then the two teams, in unofficial uniforms of cut-off jeans and T-shirts, race toward a red rubber ball in the center of the empty lot. There’s the sound of plastic against asphalt as mallets shove the ball toward one of the orange-cone goals, while the din of traffic echoes from the Capital City Freeway above.
This is urban bike polo, a game that’s hijacking empty lots, basketball courts and sometimes parking garages across the country and world. Here in Sacramento , it’s played twice a week in the parking lots beneath the freeway on X Street .
“There’s a feeling that you’re doing something everyone else hasn’t caught on to yet,” says John Kennedy of the U.S. Bicycle Polo Association, which is based in Sacramento . “Plus, it’s taking a twist on what is seen as an established, upper-crust sport and bringing it down to the people’s level.”
There are two strands of bike polo, Kennedy says. The first is played on grass with mountain bikes and wooden mallets. The other is a street version that has been adopted by bike messengers and serious road cyclists, played on asphalt or concrete, generally on fixed-gear track bikes and with mallets fashioned from ski poles or metal crutches and PVC pipe.
“Bike polo players probably have more tattoos and piercings and drink more beer than the equestrian riders who drink white wine and champagne,” Kennedy says. “And the urban bike polo players have more tattoos and piercings and probably drink more beer than the grass bike polo players.”
Balancing on fixed gears
Cigarette smoke hangs in the air on a recent Sunday as more than 30 people rendezvous in a parking lot at 19th and X streets. Energy drinks are gulped as teams of four face off.
Tires skid, metal mallets clank against each other, and the players seemingly defy gravity while swatting at the ball with forehands, backhands and belly shots â€“ a maneuver in which the ball is hit through the gap between two bike wheels.
“You have to know how to control your bike really, really well,” says Amy Kozak, 19, one of the handful of women who play regularly. “It makes me a better rider because I know exactly how to turn my bike in traffic.”
Kozak, who lives in Sacramento and works at Capitol Aquarium, started riding a fixed-gear bike three months ago.
Fixed-gears differ from traditional bikes because they don’t coast and don’t generally have hand brakes. Riders must pedal constantly for the bike to move and apply back pressure to the pedals to stop.
Although traditional cyclists are welcome to play urban bike polo, fixed-gear bikes are preferred since one of the few rules of the game is that players cannot put their feet on the ground during play but must balance on their bikes the entire time. If a player does inadvertently touch the ground, that person must bicycle off the court and touch a parking median before returning to play.
The game’s other rules are that there is no out of bounds, a team must ride around its own goal after it scores to give the other team time to regroup, and whichever team scores three goals first is the winner.
“It conditions you to be a lot better of a rider,” says Cy Kamsoulin, 23, of Sacramento , an elder-care provider.
Bike polo has been played in various forms since the late 1800s, when inflated rubber tires were invented and England sent a bunch of the new bikes to India , says Kennedy. Stableboys who didn’t have horses thought they would try their hand at the elite game on their new bikes, and British troops brought the version back to England .
The game spread to Ireland , and Irish immigrants brought the game to the United States , Kennedy says.
Alex Cain, 23, who works dispatch at a Sacramento bike messenger service, started organizing games after moving from Denver three years ago. The learning curve was steep â€“ he first made mallets entirely of PVC pipe, but the plastic couldn’t hold up to the fierce beatings during games. He also had to figure out where to play.
“We don’t get bothered here,” says Cain of the lot at 19th and X. On Wednesdays, games are played at 21st and X streets because there are too many cars parked in the 19th Street lot.
The players are mostly part of a tight-knit fixed-gear community in which inner tubes are shared like french fries and bikes are sources of pride.
Ask what injuries have been suffered, and riders usually talk about the dings to their bikes first.
Daniel Borman, 23, spent thousands of dollars and more than a year to build his lime-green track bike piece by piece. He once suffered about $100 worth of damage in a collision with another player.
But it’s all in good fun since it means time with friends twice a week.
“You want to win, but you don’t really care,” says Borman, who works as a bike messenger. “You’re just going to have fun and drink beer afterward.”
July 22nd, 2008 | Category: General | Comments are closed
The Fresh Air Fund is looking for volunteers to host kids this summer and give them a unique outdoors experience.
Over 200 children still need hosts for August.
Read more about the program and how you can volunteer at this website.
Facts about the fund:
THE FRESH AIR FUND, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs annually. In 2007, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. 3,000 children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fundâ€™s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.
I was riding past Continuum bike shop on my way home and it just so happened Matthew Modine was there on his tour to promote this bicycle for a day in September.
How could I forget Mr. Modine’s most famous roll in Full Metal Jacket:
Let me see your war face! Well he didn’t show me his war face and I didn’t mention how influential that amazing Kubrick movie has been on our event, Rumble thru da Bronx either.
I did have a brief chat with him and he seems genuinely down with the cause of getting more people on bikes. I will get more information on this upcoming event. The I proceeded to ride home, across the Williamsburg bridge and crash on absolutely nothing.
Now I’m tending to a sore wrist and few scrapes.
July 16th, 2008 | Category: General | Comments are closed
Party Tonight and Celebrity Bike ride with Matthew Modine.
Yes its true. I mean its no Al Sharpton, but actor Matthew Modine most remembered for his 1988 in “Married to the Mob” is really into biking in the city.
On September 20, 2008, Matt will be hosting the event Bicycle for a day. There are no details about this yet, but it sounds to me like a permitted ride where the city will make concessions for people to ride a bike for a day, because there is a celebrity involved. This should have the effect of making people realize people should only ride bikes on certain special days and then go back to there usual attitude that bikes are just for jobless hippies and they should do their best to not become hood ornaments for the more important automobiles.
Ok, I am being bitter. I’m just not into these token events and gimicky stunts that the city has been proposing to promoting cycling because its the hip thing to do, while real bike activists have been fighting with the city for decades just to safely ride their bike.
But to be positive…We take what we can get and build from the momentum, I guess. I mean just look what Madonna has done for adoption…oh wait, bad example. The good example is look what Bette Midler has done for community gardens.
So today…Matthew will be riding to various bicycle related destinations…to promote his event.
Here is a list of the stops:
July 15th (Tuesday)
4:30 PM – Start Ride
DUMBO (Brooklyn) 35 Pearl Street Brooklyn, NY 11201 718-858-2972
Bay Ridge Bicycle World 8916 3rd Ave Brooklyn, NY, 11209 (718) 238-1118
Continuum Cycles 199 Ave B New York, NY, 10009 (212) 505-8785
Frank’s Bike Shop 553 Grand St New York, NY, 10002 (212) 533-6332
Track Star 231 Eldridge St New York, NY, 10002 (212) 982-2553
NYC Velo 64 2nd Ave New York, NY, 10003 (212) 253-7771
Thats kind of decent ride– Will the cops be escorting? Will the hassle people for running red lights, not having a bell, lights? Will there be any helicopters?
This ride ends at an Art show at 7:30pm
PHEBES 361 Bowery New York, NY 10003
My good friend and filmmaker Daniel Leeb has made a short film about Matthew and it will be screening at the party.
There are other videos about local celebrities love of the bicycle sponsored by Puma. PUMA Presents The I-Cycle Film Series, Produced and Directed by Cinecycle.
Being a longtime supporter of and innovator in the bike community, PUMAÂ® releases the I-Cycle Film Series, a collection of short films exploring bike culture and the people who influence it.
The I-Cycle Film Series focuses on some of todayâ€™s biggest advocates for two-wheeled life, including – Matthew McGuinness, a cofounder of The 62, a Brooklyn-based art collective who started Re-Bicycle; George Bliss, the man behind New Yorkâ€™s Pedi-cabs; Brendt Barbur, founder of The Bicycle Film Festival, Matthew Modine, actor and founder of Bicycle-For-A-Day, an ongoing initiative to encourage and inspire individuals to leave their cars in the garage and reduce their carbon footprints on the world; and finally, Antonio Bertone, PUMAâ€™s CMO and one of the main reasons for PUMAâ€™s presence in the bicycle world.